22 May 2015

George Osborne recently commented about the need to boost Britain’s productivity, something he described as ‘vital’ for the continued increase in living standards.

creativeWhether you agree his statements or not, it’s hard to read about Britain’s so-called productivity puzzle without feeling a little exasperated. It’s hugely positive that they’re focusing on increasing productivity with further investment in things like digital infrastructure, but isn’t there more to it than that?

As UKFast has grown and evolved over the years, I’ve learnt that in order for people to be productive, you have to create the right environment. Can we really expect people to turn up to a dull workplace, designed for that purpose alone, and go above and beyond day in, day out? I’d say no, we can’t. And the answer is down to more than money; people aren’t motivated solely by their salary.

In my experience, it’s more about how you make people feel. This is why, at UKFast, you find so many inspirational quotes and pictures on the walls. It’s why we created desks that light up to reflect call time or signal to colleagues when someone is on an important call. And it’s the reason why having table tennis tables and an onsite gym and steam room makes perfect sense.

However, there are not many clear tax breaks to invest in your staff outside of formal training. Whilst this is undoubtedly an integral piece of the puzzle, inspiring people to be more productive by investing in their development, I would argue that your team’s wellbeing is equally as important as the training you provide.

If the government wants to increase productivity then surely, by canvassing people’s opinions, they could find out what kinds of things actually motivate and inspire people in the workplace. Armed with that information, they could then provide the kind of support SMEs need in order to help them deliver these things. Personally, I think this is a huge factor if we’re to continue growing Britain’s economy and driving productivity.

What do you think? What does the government and/or the business community need to do to solve the so-called ‘productivity puzzle’?

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